The Cowboys’ Week 3 preseason win against the St. Louis Rams represented the kind of offensive explosion we’ve all been anticipating.
And the ’Boys came out throwing last night, too. The first-team offense threw the ball on 65 percent of their snaps, including nine of the initial 12 plays. That’s something I love to see. Although
Don’t believe me? How about this for a stat: Since 2008, the Cowboys have won only 27.6 percent of their games when they throw the ball at least 57 percent of the time. Clear evidence to keep it on the ground, right? Well no, because the team actually won 63.6 percent of their games when passing on at least 57 percent of snaps through the first three quarters, i.e. they pass the ball to gain leads and run the ball to wrap up games.
Through three preseason games, Romo has passed the ball on 64.7 percent of the first-team’s snaps. That’s a high rate, but a good one, and one I’d love to see continue into the regular season.
Romo was again excellent against the blitz on Saturday night. I tracked the Rams as sending five or more rushers after Romo on five occasions. The Cowboys passed each time, and while Romo completed only two of those throws, a pair of them were dropped (one by
Romo’s two completions against the blitz were a 19-yarder to
Romo also called an audible before the 38-yard score to Harris, although it wasn’t a traditional “Kill” call. I couldn’t tell if Romo changed the play at the line or simply altered his protection, but he’s looking good on his 2012 preseason checks. Of the five, one was a draw play (one-third of Romo’s audibles since 2009 have been to a draw). The other four were passes, three of which Romo has completed for 68 yards and a touchdown. That’s hardly an amazing sample size of plays, but I’m pretty sure the ‘Boys will take that 156.3 passer rating all day.
Romo saw a lot of success throwing to the middle and right portions of the field against the Rams. Actually, only one of his 13 passes was to the left side, a 16-yard completion to Kevin Ogletree. In all three preseason games, Romo has attempted only 18.8 percent of his passes to the left side of the field – down from the 23.3 percent mark he posted last season.
Head coach Jason Garrett may just be playing to Romo’s strengths, however. Romo has historically been far superior throwing to the middle of the field and right side, especially, as shown below.
In limited preseason throws, Romo’s passer rating when tossing it to the left has only been 68.8. Compare that to a stout 128.2 rating on throws to the middle and right through three preseason games.Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter how you slice it. Tony Romo is in store for a big 2012 season.